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Tereasa Surratt’s new book “A Very Modest Cottage” prompted our discussion today about summer cottages and their magic. While Tereasa tells her tale of bringing a tourist cabin back from brinks, she also traces the history of these places and provides a “how-to” manual for those who have always dreamt of owning a cabin by the lake.
Here is an interior view of Tereasa’s furnished cabin at Lake Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Her grandmother’s antique desk, a working potbelly stove, and a set of vintage books add to the ambience of the restored cabin, which harkens back to her grandmother’s days:
An antique mirror and vintage bedspread were just a few of the objects Tereasa was able to find on her flea market shopping sprees:
Here’s a New Canaan cottage that architect Duo Dickinson, author of "House on a Budget" and a guest on our show, designed 20 years ago:
An interior view of Duo Dickinson’s New Canaan cottage captures the peace and quiet of his client’s meditation retreat:
I have always thought, even at six years old, that the little cabin seemed sad. Why didn’t somebody paint it? Didn’t it have a family? Where did the bed go? Why did there always seem to be a nest of wasps inside? So, thirty years later, I finally came to the conclusion that the cabin was waiting to be rescued. It had hung on all this time, making it through harsh Midwestern winters, yearning for the day that somebody would see past its run-down exterior, and say “Hey, I’ll bet she’d clean up real nice!”
That somebody turned out to be me. And that was the beginning of saving a piece of forgotten Americana, transporting a piece of my hometown in Illinois across one state line to my new home in Wisconsin, and restoring a little cabin to make it the house I'd dreamed of as a kid. The best lesson I learned is that it’s never too late.
-On Point staff intern Britt Hansen co-produced this report.
This program aired on July 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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